December 12, 2016 at 4:45 pm #33106
My name is: Deb Brandon
I teach: Mathematics, usually calculus.
Why I signed up for The Great eCourse Adventure: I want to put together an online course–Calculus for the Math-Wary (and hopefully expend from there). I am successful in the classroom setting, transforming anxious and reluctant students into students who are stunned that they actually enjoyed a math course and learned from it. I want to do the same online. I realize that to do so effectively, I have to do (much) more than just speak in front of the camera and smile.
When I first started writing (in the wake of brain bleeds and subsequent surgeries), I wanted to do it well. I wasn’t able to sit in lectures or attend meetings, so I worked with an amazing writing coach (Judy Fort-Brenneman). I want to do the same for my online course. I don’t want to just produce something good, I want something great, spectacular, more-ish.
What kind of e-course I want to create: I want to create an e-course that addresses teaching calculus, focusing on the the thought process, addressing linear and nonlinear thinking styles, alleviating math anxiety. Of course, I also want to teach the material, the nuts and bolts, but I see those as more of a tool to hone analytical/critical thinking.
What makes me come most alive is: Teaching effectively to a responsive audience and writing.December 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm #33111
Bobbie Jo Van Den PlasAdventurer@bobbiejo
…transforming anxious and reluctant students into students who are stunned that they actually enjoyed a math course and learned from it.
I could have totally used a teacher like you in school! Math was one I always struggled with!
You have the heart and experience to create some amazing life changing courses here for sure (you already are)!
Happy to meet you here and excited to connect more through the climb!December 12, 2016 at 5:28 pm #33134
Thanks for the kind words.December 12, 2016 at 6:05 pm #33140
Welcome, Deb! Glad you signed up; we can push each other along 🙂December 12, 2016 at 6:38 pm #33145
That sounds great! I think that whatever method you use for getting the student past their anxiety is something we can all benefit from, and include in our own course.December 12, 2016 at 7:28 pm #33158
Bradley MorrisMountain Guide@bradleytmorris
Oh wow, this is wonderful. Where were you in my teens!? I had major math anxiety. I thought I was a dumb dumb in the subject, but it turns out I just needed a Deborah Brandon in my corner. Can’t wait to help you bring that vision to life in the coming months. Let’s climb this mountain and have some fun 😀
Thanks so much for being here and for introducing yourself!December 13, 2016 at 2:16 am #33173
Hi Deb, great to have you along on the journey. we can all learn together.December 14, 2016 at 7:18 pm #33279
I’ll give you the odd nudge if you need it. And if you see me slacking off you know what to do.
DebDecember 14, 2016 at 7:42 pm #33281
One of the things I harp on with my students is the math is about pattern recognition, the rest are short cuts–terminology and notation. The patterns become more sophisticated in time and the short cuts build so if you miss some along the way, it’ll make things harder.
I also talk about different thinking styles. That many of the patterns we are exposed to are linear, but as they become more sophisticated, to recognize them you need more than linear thinking, including intuition, leaps of faith, and even feeling around in the dark.
(I explain that figuring out the patterns are about being able to understand and predict behavior based on the data we have. Patterns (e.g. graphs, algorithms) in the real world are based on approximation. (E.g. when we draw a line it has a width even though the theoretical, or idealized, notion of a line, the pattern, has zero width.) Etc. )
As we go through the material, I focus on the thought process, pointing it out, illustrating that it is usually not linear. I talk about how limiting linear thinking can be, and how it has dominated the education system (probably because it’s a lot easier), making it unnecessarily difficult for those of us who don’t think predominantly linearly.
I’ve thought about this quite a bit. I used to be primarily a linear thinker, but after the brain surgery, my sequential thinking was damaged, and I guess I had to figure out other ways to get around obstacles. In the process, I became a better teacher (also because I had to relearn a bunch of stuff like the multiplication tables and college algebra), and found that I prefer teaching humanities majors rather than engineering and science. And as the students learnt so did I. It’s a lot of fun.December 14, 2016 at 7:49 pm #33284
Wow that is super interesting. As someone who is interested in becoming a better teacher that sounds like something I want to learn.
What age group is your course for? I find myself trying to come up with creative ways to help my 10 year old with his math homework. I think that like me his brain thinks differently than that of most school teachers, and so I try to find a different way of explaining it to him.December 16, 2016 at 4:55 pm #33350
This is a calculus course. We’re talking first year college students or senior high school students. But of course, age-wise it’s not restricted, as long as you have (college) algebra background (though I plan to have a mini-course that gives a brief review of algebra and trigonometry for calculus).
DebMarch 18, 2017 at 8:29 am #36031
Wow! I wish your course was around when I was in high school. You’re going to help a ton of people with this one. Looking forward to it, Laura
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